Saturday, September 26, 2009


Black. The truck. The glasses that hide his eyes, behind the tinted windows, as the tires spin in the dirt, pushing him further into the brush that had begun to grow around the path that led to our house from the bus stop. Closer to where we stand, rooted by the fear that someone is coming for us. Lost in the black.

Cacophony, the noise of chittering voices reverberating between the slick green benches, along the rubber runner that makes the aisle to the back of the school bus. The world dashes by the open window, a slight breeze filtering through. signifying school is done for the day. Little feet beat the backs of the seat in tune with the charge of anticipation at what the afternoon may hold.

Rumbling to a halt, the yellow monster swings one arm in front, another to the side bringing traffic to a halt, as we clamber down the steps, back packs bouncing against our backs. Looking both ways we dash across the asphalt into the cool shadows of the path, an old driveway to the land below our house.

Let's build a fort in the woods.

How about we play football.

The world is our playground on a sunny afternoon, as the six of us, brother, sister, cousins, tromp towards home to drop our burdens, until we hear the overpowering roar and rending of sticks giving chase to our steps. We turn to face the shadowy beast, the gleaming chrome grill smiling like bared teeth come to devour its prey.

Run, run, run...our hearts scream with each thud, breaking the trance, cajoling our feet to keep pace with its fear filled metronome. Breath returns with the solid thud of the kitchen door, a crisp snap of the lock, as we slide down the door becoming pools on the floor. Safe once more.

We never knew who the man in black was or what mal intent drove him to follow us from the bus stop. Hopefully neither you or your children ever face the prospect of being kidnapped. Unfortunately too many people face this every day...not from strangers, but from people they know.

Hearts are held ransom, by physical, emotional or sexual abuse, kidnapping lives. You begin to believe it is your fault, if only you were better, smarter, stronger, then you would not deserve it...trapped in your own dirty existence, no matter how many times we scrub your hands. Silence becomes safe, because who do you trust when those that should love you most become your tormentor? Who would even believe you? Would it be worse if you told?

Fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation...have nothing to do with love. Love is not a bargaining chip.

Its not your fault.

You don't deserve it.

You are special.

This should not happen.


Baino said...

I was going to leave a comment like 'what no homework' until I got to the more poignant part of your tale. We have a 'stranger danger' program here but it still doesn't prevent the odd predator. Sickening frankly.

lakeviewer said...

Oh, the fear, the anxiety of such an encounter. You are right about the one that hurts is usually someone the child knows.

You made me hold my breath there with your description.

Daniel said...

So, how should we life our lives? Should we install bars over the windows and stay with our little ones every moment to protect them from the 1 in a million? The problem is that stories like these are so prevalent on the news, folks become paranoid and stop living. Where is the sensible path here?

subtorp77 said...

What was it like 95% of kidnappings, are via another family member? I argue that amount. And you made good your escape. Kids should be taught early, as well.

The Retired One said...

Oh Brian, this happened to you for real? How awful.
yes, predators come in all shapes and sizes, even the most familiar.
Talking and talking and then talking some more to our kids about the what if's is the best prevention I know of...but it is a scary world out there.
I once was attacked by our parish PRIEST. (I luckily broke free and was not harmed as much as I could have been). If that is not the ultimate betrayal of trust, what is?

only a movie said...

I hate when people fuck with kids. I see the fallout every day at work.

Wings said...

Scary world, sometimes.

My kids want to walk alone from the bus stop, and now that they are older I let them, as long as they are both together.

Gotta let 'em grow up, but I don't gotta like it.

otin said...

It seems to me that most children have at least one creepy encounter. I had one, as did my brother and two of my step brothers. There are some real strange people on this planet!!

Good message here!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Brian: Great post. This is so true especially if the abusers are the child's parents. Parents are like gods to children. Children need to preserve the good image, trust, reliance, relationship with the parent(s), and so they blame themselves for any abusive situations. Little minds are so sweet and generous they would almost absolve parents of any wrongdoing.

It takes work later to put the guilt where it rightfully belongs.
A marvelous, new therapeutic technique used internationally called EMDR is really effective in helping victims do just that.

Thanks again Brian.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Very powerful post. Very important, as well. It's criminal that there are this kind of level of sick people out there.

Eternally Distracted said...

Very well said. I worked with kids who always believed it to be their fault ... Baggage that remains a heavy weight forever. Kudos for bringing attention to this ..

Ronda Laveen said...

I know too many people who've commited suicide because of others trespasses when they were children--physical and mental. I don't like to pass judgement because only the One can do that but, sometimes I think the wrong person died.

Kathleen said...

Wow, Brian. Big stuff here.

I wrote a book about the importance of young people having many caring adults in their lives.

The fear of some child being hurt by a predator brought me to a standstill at one point. I forced myself to read the book Predator, a chilling explanation of predators written by an expert from the University of Wisconsin. It was only the incredible support of a woman whose son was kidnapped at age 12 (and has been missing ever since) and who has become something of a national celebrity on lost and missing children that gave me the courage to let the book be published.

Her name is Patty Wetterling, and what she told me is that she truly believes kids need as many caring adults in their lives as possible for the very reason that they have people they can trust and who can role model goodness. She's an amazing woman, that one. She wrote the foreword, and it was an extraordinary moment of validation.

Thank you for tackling this difficult subject with your usual breath-taking way with words.

Valerie said...

This post should be circulated and published across the media. It is an excellent post, Brian, summed up by your final words: This should not happen. I suffered 'incidents' as a child, I remember the indescribable relief when the door slammed shut behind me. Safe! Nowadays the suffering is much worse and it happens in all countries. Sickening!

IB said...

We have to be honest with our kids and teach them that these people are more prevalent than we want to admit. We like to believe the sick ones are few and far between, but in reality, they're everywhere, even in one's own family.

tony said...

Yes Scary.Life Is Lived Within That Balance.To know of Danger.but to not live a life-in-hiding because of it.

Ashley Kay said...

Been there. Really wish I could say I haven't.

Ashley Kay

Protege said...

Very important message and so difficult to write about, but you did it brilliantly.
I am sure you worry about things like that constantly being a parent. Particularly as you have own experiences of fright to draw from.

Brian Miller said...

I work with a lot of abused kids. everytime i hear their stories it gets me. this was a hard one...i scrapped a piece earlier this week because it just became too dark. we have to protect our kids.

Meeko Fabulous said...

Brian, your words touched me. I teared up and wiped them away as I read this post. I am a survivor of sexual abuse as a child. Yes, survivor. I refuse to call myself a victim. You are absolutely right. Who do you trust when those who are supposed to make you feel safe betray your innocence. It shouldn't have happened.